Three Ways to Strategically Focus on Business Development Pt 2
Back in February, I provided three ways to strategically focus on business development with weekly high-priority meetings, strategic business development meetings and one “quarterback” per lead. Flashing forward seven months, there is still a lot of talk and movement towards the changes that are occurring in our profession. More firms are refining their processes and utilizing automation to free up their time for business development focus. Today I want to bring attention to the fact that business development is a team sport that takes a change in mindset and some coordination to provide clients with the best service. To do this, your team will have to focus on change management, utilize a central place to store client data and facilitate internal discussions to ensure everyone is up to date before a large client meeting.
One of the hardest aspects of focusing on business development and expanding the services provided to clients is moving from a mindset of “my client” to “our client.” Many of your seasoned professionals and other team members have strong relationships with specific clients, and the thought of letting others work with them can be very stressful. For a long time, that client was their client. However, when you start providing clients with multiple services, that ultimately means multiple team members will be working with them and building a relationship. It’s vital to communicate that each strategic client is the entire teams’ client. These strategic clients are so vital to the growth and success of your firm that not only will you rely on the professional who had the initial relationship to help expand the account, but you will also need the full team to provide higher-level client service.
Many firms don’t have a true client relationship management (CRM) system like Salesforce, Base, Zoho, etc. However, it’s imperative that you figure out a process and method to have a central location to capture information and updated discussions for each of your strategic clients. (You can even use Excel for this!) A central location that everyone can access and update will keep your team informed of recent discussions with a client so you don’t double up on efforts for the same service or try to sell them something they’ve already told you they weren’t interested in. This also helps you manage who is having contact with each client and what their next steps will be. Utilizing this system is vital for the Weekly High Priority Meetings I mentioned in my February article as well as the next point in this article.
Internal prep calls
Setting up an internal prep call prior to the next strategic discussion is a great way to get everyone on the same page. Utilize your client “quarterback” to set up one meeting that includes all the team members who are working with a specific client. Review the information in your CRM System and ensure that everyone has their questions answered and all the information is updated correctly. Then discuss the upcoming client meeting/call. Make sure everyone understands the purpose of that meeting, who is taking the lead on most of the discussions and if there is anything that needs to be communicated to the client prior to the meeting/call. These internal prep calls will help you to continue providing that higher-level services to your client before, during and after any part of your business development efforts.
While the changes happening in the accounting profession can be overwhelming for many of us, this is a very exciting time. Think about the deeper relationships you are creating with clients now that you’re offering them higher-level, strategic services. Think about how you are creating a symbiotic relationship and making your clients more successful and relevant which is, in turn, making your firm more successful and relevant. While keeping that in mind, make sure your firm is viewing these new efforts as a team sport. Focus on the change in mindset and the communication and coordination that is essential in the success of everyone involved.
As a Solutions Advisor for Boomer Consulting, Inc., Deanna works to help clients and prospective clients identify their dangers, opportunities and strengths. Once these are identified, she works to develop a personalized game plan for their firm to focus on the area, or areas, they need to improve on most. These areas are critical to a firm’s success and future-readiness; Leadership, Talent, Technology, Process and Growth.